At 1.7 cents to make each one, United States pennies literally cost more than they’re worth and our government spends millions of dollars a year to make new ones. But no one uses pennies! As John Oliver demonstrates through news footage, people can’t even be bothered to pick them up off the ground, and a certain percentage of Americans freely admit to throwing them in the garbage. (And if you didn’t throw them out before, the story of a Redditor who put one up his butt might make you reconsider.)
But why do we still have pennies? Well, for starters, you can blame the penny lobby and a group called “Americans for Commons Cents.” Yes, really. These people claim that eliminating pennies would rob charities millions of dollars. Oh, and they also conveniently own the company that makes the zinc discs that are eventually turned into pennies.
Another opponent to eliminating the penny are Lincoln enthusiasts, who think it would be a disservice to get rid of the coin depicting the image of the 16th president of the United States, despite the fact that his likeness also appears on the five dollar bill. So, there’s your explanation as to why we still have cups and jars in our homes filled with worthless trash coins. But if anyone can champion the cause, it’s John Oliver — so at least there is hope!